Autism and music

photo by Headancer

image: 29 may 2006 – – 0008 – (medium) by Headancer/Simon Green (copyright 2006) (link to Headancer homepage)

As you’ll probably have read on Paul’s blog, he’s still not back in school. This is having a massive knock-on effect on the rest of family and my in-laws, and is generally causing chaos at Mistrust Towers. Anything from a decent night’s sleep to watching tv is being affected as Paul’s life is almost completely unstructured and he’s having to find things to do all the time, something he finds quite difficult at the best of times. He’s getting tired at all the wrong times, just because he’s getting really anxious in the mornings from not knowing who may call round to see him (school inclusion people, mainly). If you haven’t been here before, he’s got Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not otherwise specified, which means Autism/Asperger’s type personality and behaviour, hence all the anxieties.

What’s this got to do with “mistrust music”? Well, for some reason, Paul has decided that he wants to learn to play the drums. That means he wants a drum kit. Not just a basic, cheap kit. A proper one, with all accessories included. Bear in mind that he has a very small bedroom and there’s nowhere else in the house that it could go. So that’s a non-starter. I’ve told him we’ll get a basic drum pad-type thing – one of those plastic things without about 4 pads on it, with a set of plastic sticks – so he can see how it goes. Judging by his recent attempt to learn to play the guitar, he’ll give up if he can’t work out how to play a particularly beat. With Paul, it will be as follows: Learn the bass drum, then the snare, etc. Then learn a rock beat, then a waltz, etc, and if he gets stuck on one, he’ll pack it in.

He also wants to learn keyboards….. He’s been fiddling with my old Casio MT31 (which still works after nearly 30 years!) but it’s got small keys and he’s having problems playing the notes. He’s gone onto “Learn to” or something which has basic riffs to play, and has been practicising the same thing over and over till he gets it completely right. The problem is that there’s no audio on the site, so he relies on me to say if it’s right. Once again, if he can’t play one of the tunes, he’ll pack it all in.

It’s good that he’s interested in making music the “traditional” way, instead of using loads of samples in Acid Pro, and he’s actually got potential in the technique side of things. He now wants to use my Evolution Midi keyboard, plugged into the computer, and use a keyboard training program.

All this means I’m getting less and less time to come up with some new tunes. I’ve got the playing bug again and I want to do some live work, but there’s very little time to do much at the moment because of all this domesticity. The tunes that went to Candycover music library should be live soon, and that could open up some new opportunities, and I’d like to be prepared for anything that comes along. Howeve, anything that will keep him focussed, occupied, and will develop his skills, is something we’ve got to keep up with.

You’ll probably have noticed the image at the top of this post. It’s a photo by Headancer, one of the Big Chill Forum folk. I asked on there last week if I could use some of the things that have been occasionally posted on the forum, or if anyone could point me to some others I could use to brighten up my blog. So, thanks to Simon Green (Headancer) for use of the image. If you want to see more of his photography, please go to Headancer on and tell him I sent you. Please note: All the images used on this site are copyright and should not be used without the owners’ permission. The pic I’ve used is from It reminds me of the fact that I’m off on holiday in about 5 weeks……

Life, the Universe, and my alter-ego

In fact, I seem to have forgotten who I am. Or at least forgotten that I’ve got a musical alter-ego who likes making tunes and whose music some people like listening to. There’s been so much going on at home and work that it’s been impossible to even think about making music recently. Me and Mrs mistrust have been occupied with Paul almost every waking hour (and those times we should be asleep), so there’s been no time to think of other things.

As you may have read in his blog, Paul has PDD-NOS and has become more and more anxious and socially reclusive over the last few months. Helping him to make some tunes and sorting out the production for him was an excuse for me to get using the music software, but now he doesn’t seem interested in creating some of his own tracks and getting some plays. Mrs m and I spend most of the evenings sorting out his needs and then desperately needing a rest when he goes to watch a dvd, or at least checking emails, forums etc.  Last evening I took him to the Trafford Centre (big shopping mall) almost straight after work and got home at 9.30pm, all because we’d promised him a reward for going to the child psychology day unit and seeing the registrar. The result was Gran Turismo 4 for PS2.

Come on Paul, get making music again and writing your blog.

My stepson has PDD-NOS

I realised that I haven’t posted anything on here, so that means no readers. Probably. Or too many blogs to maintain: music, e-learning, and personal (this one). Maybe I should drop this one, as the music blog is important and so is the e-learning one. Who cares about my personal life and what goes on at home?

Paul, my stepson of nearly five years, is 14 y.o. He has PDD-NOS, which means he’s sort of on the Autistic Spectrum. He’s been having major anxiety attacks about school. He hasn’t been in school for almost four weeks, until yesterday. The first two weeks were the Easter holidays, but he was too anxious to go in. We’ve had his psychologist involved, plus the local Special Needs Advisory service, trying to get him to go back. Finally, he’s been to the psychology day unit for a visit, and into school for one P.E. lesson. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess….

Paul’s has a blog here where he’s talking about what’s happening to him…..

Timothy Blackburn

I’m Tim(othy) Blackburn. This is my third blog. My second one on wordpress.
This isn’t my music blog.  That one is here at

This blog is more of a personal site where I can post non-musical ramblings instead of cluttering up my music pages with stuff that the people looking for my music don’t want to read.